Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Easiest wheat bread

This recipe comes from my 99 year old aunt, Jeanette Moreau Pomerleau. Originally, it's a recipe for raisin bread, but I make it without the raisins and it's lovely. The recipe calls for sugar, but I leave it out without much change in taste or texture. I also use olive oil instead of lard, as my aunt does. And finally, you can replace the molasses with honey, though it makes for a lighter colored bread. This recipe, along with a few more easy bread recipes, is included in the cookbook I wrote based on my mother and her sister's recipes.
  • 4 cups each white and whole wheat flour (see note below*)
  • 3 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp yeast
  • 3 generous tbsp melted lard (or olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup molasses (or honey)
  • 3.5 cups hot water
  • 3/4 cups raisins (optional)

In a large bowl, mix the flours together. Make a hole in the middle of the flour and add all of the ingredients (even the raisins if you choose to include them) into the hole, adding the water and the molasses last. With your hand, starting in the middle of the hole, mix by making little circles until all of the flour is incorporated. You may need to add more flour if the dough is still sticky at the end. Knead on a floured surface until you get a large, smooth ball. I don't knead for that long, maybe five minutes or so. Rub a small amount of oil over the dough and place in deep bowl. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until it doubles in size, about an hour. When the dough has doubled, separate into two or three round balls. Place them on a baking stone or in bread pans (depending on the size you choose to make) and allow to rise again, covered, for about an hour.

Bake at 375 for about an hour. For a crispier crust, spray the inside of the oven with water every ten minutes. Enjoy with butter as a side with soup, or for breakfast with more butter and jam.

*Note: I made this bread again since posting this and realized in the process that I had no more white flour. What I did have was some unbleached white flour (about a cup and a half) and wheat flour. I made the recipe with this and discovered that the bread had better flavor. The next time, I may just try it with all wheat flour to see what happens.
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